04/01/2015 10:25 EDT | Updated 06/01/2015 05:59 EDT

Montreal fireplaces could face restrictions by 2016

Montreal fireplaces may need to be put out four years earlier than expected.

While the City of Montreal already had a plan in place to restrict the use of fireplaces starting in 2020, an environmental committee studying the issue is recommending pushing the plan forward to October 2016.

Roughly 50,000 homes would be affected.

Mayor Denis Coderre must first decide to go ahead with the proposal, under which devices that don't meet the emission standard of 2.5 grams per hour of fine particles per hour would be affected.

"These fine particles have significant and detrimental impact. Higher mortality rates, cancer, respiratory problems, " said Elsie Lefebvre, a city councillor and head of the committee.

Citizens would have 18 months to comply with the regulations if their current device does not meet the restrictions.

Those who don't could face fines ranging from $100 to $4,000.

The city banned wood burning appliances for new constructions in 2009.

Wood stoves and fireplaces are one of the leading causes of winter smog in Montreal, according to Environment Canada.